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Weaning at Anglo-Saxon raunds: Implications for changing breastfeeding practice in britain over two millennia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.
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2013 (English)In: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, ISSN 0002-9483, E-ISSN 1096-8644, Vol. 151, no 4, 604-612 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigated stable-isotope ratio evidence of weaning for the late Anglo-Saxon population of Raunds Furnells, Northamptonshire, UK. delta N-15 and delta C-13 values in rib collagen were obtained for individuals of different ages to assess the weaning age of infants within the population. A peak in delta N-15 values at about 2-year-old, followed by a decline in delta N-15 values until age three, indicates a change in diet at that age. This change in nitrogen isotope ratios corresponds with the mortality profile from the site, as well as with archaeological and documentary evidence on attitudes towards juveniles in the Anglo-Saxon period. The pattern of delta C-13 values was less clear. Comparison of the predicted age of weaning to published data from sites dating from the Iron Age to the 19th century in Britain reveals a pattern of changing weaning practices over time, with increasingly earlier commencement and shorter periods of complementary feeding in more recent periods. Such a change has implications for the interpretation of socioeconomic changes during this period of British history, since earlier weaning is associated with decreased birth spacing, and could thus have contributed to population growth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 151, no 4, 604-612 p.
Keyword [en]
weaning, Anglo-Saxon, carbon isotope ratio, nitrogen isotope ratio, bone collagen
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92908DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22316ISI: 000321975400012OAI: diva2:644365


Available from: 2013-08-30 Created: 2013-08-26 Last updated: 2013-08-30Bibliographically approved

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Howcroft, Rachel
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